WATCH: IS IT WORTH PAYING UP FOR BRENDAN STEELE OR CHARLEY HOFFMAN?
There is a lot of data to digest when researching for golf. Course characteristics can tell us whether we want to favor long hitters, great putters or the best scramblers. Weather is crucial as strong wind early on Thursday would mean we want players teeing off later in the day. Figuring out exactly how good a golfer is relative to his DraftKings salary and the field sounds simple but is crucial.
The two topics I’ll be focusing on in this weekly article are course history and recent form. Like every other stat in every DFS sport, these two topics are a piece of the puzzle rather than the whole pie. But knowing who historically plays well at a certain course and who comes into the event in good form correlate significantly with DFS success as long as we have a solid sample size.
*The Valero Texas Open has been played at TPC San Antonio since 2010.
Valero Texas Open Course History: The Good
1. Charley Hoffman, $10,700
Hoffman clearly has the best course history this week. He’s played the Valero in each of the last seven years and never finished worse than 13th. That’s an outrageous run in a full-field event. Hoffman won last year, was third in 2013 and second in 2011. Yes, this history is factored into his price a bit as he’s the third-most expensive golfer this week. But that’s only slightly inflated off his long-term adjusted round score of 69.6, 15th-best in the field (via FantasyLabs).
2. Daniel Summerhays, $7,000
Much like Luke Donald last week, Summerhays has elite course history and once price is factored in, it becomes outrageous. Summerhays’ last five trips to the Valero have resulted in 13th, fourth, second, seventh, 29th. That’s three top-10 finishes here when he only has 17 top-10s in 179 career PGA Tour events played. Summerhays’ recent form is ugly with zero top-40 finishes since early-February, but he is coming off two straight made cuts.
3. Ryan Palmer, $8,600
Palmer was born in Texas and played his college golf at Texas A&M. He’s proven to be very comfortable at TPC San Antonio, making five straight cuts and peaking with a sixth and fourth the last two years. Palmer also has a bit of momentum on his side as he went 67-68 over the weekend at Heritage last week to finish 11th.
4. Brendan Steele, $9,900
Steele, who boasts the fifth-best long-term adjusted round score in this field (via FantasyLabs), comes into this event hot. He hasn’t missed a cut this season and he has five top-20s already. Now Steele gets a course he’s played well on with four top-13 finishes in the last six years. That includes a win in 2011, second in 2012 and eighth in 2015.
Valero Texas Open Course History: The Bad
1. Jhonattan Vegas, $8,100
Vegas has been a strong value play for much of this season, making 6-of-7 cuts and beating salary-based expectation in seven of his last eight events. However, his price is at a season-high this week and he’s struggled badly at TPC San Antonio. The Venezuelan has played this event in each of the last three years with results of MC, 68th, MC.
2. Jimmy Walker, $10,500
Yes, Walker won this event in 2015. But he missed the cut in 2016, was 16th in 2014, 31st in 2013, missed cut in 2012 and missed cut in 2011. So it’s a bit shaky when we’re talking about a $10,500 player whose long-term adjusted round score is 24th in the field. Walker also has struggled a bit this season, missing 3-of-7 cuts.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. JT Poston, $6,900
Poston, the 23-year-old rookie, has announced himself on tour this year. He finished 17th at Genesis, 27th at Honda, 14th at Valspar, 10th at Puerto Rico and was on his way to another high finish in Houston until a 77 on Sunday sunk him. Overall, Poston has made five straight cuts and is 7-of-9 on the season despite ranking 135th in strokes gained putting and 41st in three-putt avoidance.
2. Adam Hadwin, $9,100
We could make a case that Hadwin is simply “good” instead of merely “hot.” Over the last calendar year, he leads all golfers in DK points per tournament vs. salary-based expectation. But Hadwin has really bubbled to the top lately, making the cut in all nine events he’s played and finishing inside the top-22 in five of them. Of course, Hadwin’s salary is starting to catch up as he’s now the 11th-most expensive player in the field.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is AdamLevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.